Wednesday, December 29, 2010

20-70-10 Differentiation

Reading “Winning” by Jack Welch and his thoughts on differentiation-- the person who introduced this idea, and also implemented it globally.

One good point he made and that is clearly missed is before an organization goes this route, they need to have a robust performance appraisal system, that is free from bias.

Most of the companies have embraced this system without actually understanding the strengths and weaknesses in their HR processes. I don’t even think companies look back to see if they are gaining anything implementing it or not.

Personally small teams of less than 10-15 people can do away with this. Small teams cannot work if they have a less than average guy, and incase there is someone then it should not need waiting till the appraisal cycle.

I have been asked to just implement the normalization curve many a times without anybody wanting to explain me WHY,,,or even attempting to understand, why me and my team are better without it.. However not risking to be branded as a forever rebel i have also embraced this idea…

My suggestion is to benchmark salaries in the annual performance appraisal and move ahead…infact performance appraisal should happen in much shorter then annual cycle should just be a salary correction exercise…

Friday, December 10, 2010

Giving a dollar vs earning one

A 29 year old Steve Jobs sounds off on philanthropy in an early interview with Playboy.

"I'm convinced that to give away a dollar effectively is harder than to make a dollar.

"There are some simple reasons for that. One is that in order to learn how to do something well, you have to fail sometimes. In order to fail, there has to be a measurement system. And that's the problem with most philanthropy--there's no measurement system. You give somebody some money to do something and most of the time you can really never measure whether you failed or succeeded in your judgment of that person or his ideas or their implementation. So if you can't succeed or fail, it's really hard to get better."

For me the measurement is the difference you make to someones life. I don't believe in giving some rs to a roadside beggar, it only encourages beggary, and is no good. But yes following up on donation and making sure it does good involves whole lot of effort, perseverence and time.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Harsh criticism

Criticism is something I have been struggling with since a long time. Both in giving and taking criticism. Sometimes I am soft while criticizing others and then found that there was no effect, and sometimes I criticize too harshly on something very small. Criticizm helps people to grow, and is very important. Constructive criticism works like polishing on a rough diamond, but hard polish can break the diamond also. Some people fear criticism, specially managers, who are afraid that it might be seen as a negative trait. It might just make enemies. Those criticized might resign, or spread dissent in team.

I feel its a great injustice to your team if you are not sharing criticism and working with one another on those, to build stronger teams and stronger bonds.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Six Very Painful HR Leadership Lessons I Learned From My 360 Feedback — Don’t Make These Same Mistakes… | Success in HR

Six Very Painful HR Leadership Lessons I Learned From My 360 Feedback — Don’t Make These Same Mistakes… | Success in HR: "’s leader. Even if you don’t deserve it. Even if your name never gets used. You get paid more. You have access to higher-level people in the company. You got there because you have the smarts and can think the big thoughts.

The other side of the coin is hanging your team out to dry when things go wrong. If you publicly crucify them for a mistake, they’ll never forgive you.
I found this article really stupid. Though it may look great to newbies, experienced managers would know that this states nothing new, and however ignore the practical problems that managers face.

Biggest pain is getting the right feedback...People just don’t give feedback because -
  1. They are afraid - u may track and persecute.
  2. They don’t care - Most have already lost hope. Don’t want to waste time.
  3. Some are immature - their feedback is kind of stupid and meaningless.
Now even after getting feedback, u can't do shit about it because -
  1. U don’t have budget.
  2. U cannot change organizational policies.
  3. U cannot always share hard realities with people.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

N.Korea readies missiles as US, South Korea begin drill - The Economic Times

N.Korea readies missiles as US, South Korea begin drill - The Economic Times

Looks like as US is pulling out of Afghanistan, it is readying itself for next engagement. A big part of US economy is weapons, therefore war happening in some part of the world is important for US to test its weapons, and also sell it to other countries.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Product Management Tip: How to Piss Off Customers

Product Management Tip: How to Piss Off Customers: "hout advance warning,"

This article is good in a way ad it highlights the things we do to screw our product. As we are a product company, doing all this screws our product only....

Monday, November 08, 2010

Piaggio three-seater soon to take on Tata's Nano - The Economic Times

Piaggio three-seater soon to take on Tata's Nano - The Economic Times: "to Piaggio top executives would be production ready within 3 years. It is expected to hit the Indian market with a approximate price tag of Rs 1.5 lakh.

The 2.4m long NT3 initial to be powered by a 200cc capable of offering speeds of up to 60 km/hour and a or 300cc engine (max speed of 80km/hour) that could also have a hybrid variant with possible electric motor in future."

Electric cars are the way to go. I m just waiting for some good electric car to come out....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

BBC News - Water map shows billions at risk of 'water insecurity'

BBC News - Water map shows billions at risk of 'water insecurity'

Its important that government and people understand the risk of water and work towards it...Whole of india is in Yellow or red..

Rain water harvesting and waste water management seems to be the only ray of hope...

Friday, October 15, 2010

same meds different prices

Save money: Know price of top Indian brands of a medicine generic

Found this good site to compare prices of various medicines. Found some cheaper options for the expensive meds prescribed to me..

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tata Aria: Who would buy?

Tata Aria: Review Tata Aria, Price, Photos and Technical Specifications of Tata Aria

I am wondering at the price and placement of Tata Aria. Priced in the range of 14-17L on road, who would buy this? No wonder many beautiful features have been added, but one needs to visit the Tata service center to understand how much they are crowded by taxis and how much they are overworked to deal with cars in this range. Being a tata safari owner i know the pain the service center people are.

People who would be shelling out this much amount would shell few more to go for vitara, toyota fortuner or endeavour.

Probably tata would launch a strip down version on this to give competition to Mahindra XYLO and innova..

Tata is a good player in the value for money segment, but i am wondering which segment does aria fit in..

Monday, October 04, 2010

Most amazing moments on camera

DSC02530 While coming back from Ranikhet via ramnagar, there was this river crossing. As it had rained heavily since morning, the river was flowing with immense power. All vehicles were waiting at both ends for the river to reduce its fury. A Mahindra maxx guy thought all waiting are idiots and he drover the car across in the stream. people got afraid that the car would topple and tried to get out. The auntie slipped and could not gain footing back. Some people told me she was taken out of the stream,….I don’t know. I just saw her going down in the stream with the water..

This was what we see on AXN, worlds most amazing videos..happening in front of u, it was mind numbing experience.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Valley trouble

Kashmir valley is a beautiful place and thus any killings etc happening there hurt even more. Around 100 protestors have been killed till date in last few months.
  •  Protestors blame the army for killings.
  • Army says they are helpless when mobs attack them and protest.
  • Omar abdullah blames the Hurriyat.
  • Hurriyat blames Omar
The people getting killed - innocent kashmiris.
The people benefiting -  The defunct politicians who had no support like gilani and yasin malik.

I hope the people of the valley just focus on these basics and the valley returns to normalcy at the earliest..

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Similar problems different solutions

I saw 2 documentaries on Nat geo. The first one was about illegal trade in tiger skins and bones going on in china, and second was about Pablo Escobar, who was once the Leader of the cartel smuggling cocaine to US from Columbia. He was 7th richest man in the world at one time.

To stop tiger trade it was argued that consumption for tiger bones/skins/product should be curbed so that all killing stops automatically, when the market dies.

However for cocaine, pablo escobar was hunted down in Columbia and finally gunned down. This was done with immense US support. I wonder why does the US not crack hard on cocaine/drug dealers and users. Once the market dies the cocaine production/smuggling would have stopped automatically.

Another important point made in the documentary was if there is political will, then nobody, no matter how strong, smart or powerful can continue. So for the Maoist problem that plagues the country, the root cause is lack of political will. If we have a plan and work on it, very soon the entire maoist infra can be made to collapse.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Elephant and the rider

The last book i read compared the rational-emotional mind of person to the Rider-Elephant. So our rational mind is like the rider sitting on top of emotions or Elephant.

Rider can think but move only when the elephant moves. Rider can force his will on the elephant, but not for very long and it is tiring. This synched with something i believed in since long time, that until you/others put emotions in the work, you won’t achieve much. The passion is required to achieve extraordinary.

Some people have a thinking/rider problem, they keep thinking but don’t move. They think so much that they get jammed…Others have the elephant problem, react too early to emotions. It is important to have both the rider and elephant in sync and aligned.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Price of petrol

The petrol and diesel price rise seems to be big news now a days with opposition calling for bandhs and government saying that it is still priced cheaper than in neighboring states..

It is interesting that government does not compare the price of fuel in comparison with US, where the fuel is still cheaper than what it is in India.

Also interesting to note is that both state and central government tax the fuel in a good manner, and then claim to give subsidy.. What a farce....

States like Maharashtra and West Bengal which had the best of bandh and protest, and where both state governments supported the protest, are the ones that have highest tax on petrol and diesel.

All the parties are having fun at the peoples expense, who are fighting a huge price rise.. I dont know how many years it will take for the Indian people to understand this, and have good leaders running the country..

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Term insurance

Term insurance is something i strongly advocate. You get good coverage in low premium. I just discovered that aegon religare is selling it very cheap and exclusively over the internet only.

The site is a little pathetic, some browsers are not supported, credit card payment was not working, but it gives insurance at cheapest rates.

worth a shot.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Difference between role and designation

This is a follow up post based on a comment on my old post. Here are dictionary definitions of Role and designation

Role - Prescribed or expected behavior associated with a particular position or status in a group or organization.

Designation - nomination, appointment, or election to an office, position, etc.

In many IT companies I have seen designations and roles as totally mismatch. So someone being called as an Architect does no different work from a developer. And sometimes Leads act as managers, and managers just act as project coordinators. This often leads to confusions among what is expected from people, and what are their goals.

It's also important to understand that ROLE PRECEDES DESIGNATION. So if you are a lead aspiring to become a manager, in addition to your responsibilities, you need to get into the role of your manager. Start doing and understanding the nuances of being a manager.

Any questions?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Is anger good?

There is a lot of things written on Anger and its management. I have heard lot of times, its not good to be angry, i feel differently. I feel anger is a basic emotion like happiness and crying, and thus should not be suppressed. It's good to be feeling and being angry, else we would just become vegetables.

What is bad is how anger is handled. It is very important to hold your tongue and body when angry. It's important to not do anything irrational when angry. When angry, try to think more rationally about it..Like how a third person would think on the situation and on the anger. Channelizing your anger is very important. Sometimes physical exercise, long walk and chatting with a good friend helps you develop a deeper insight.

Credit cards

I have been using credit cards since quite some time now and have used of various banks. Here is a brief on my experience with them.

  1. HSBC - most avoidable. pathetic customer service and orientation. I wanted to use it, but the website is so stupid and customer care answers so arrogant, that i had to cancel it.
  2. ICICI - It seems they decided to give the reward points management to Imint. Which makes reward redemption a very messy deal. Again totally avoidable.
  3. SBI - I like this card, they don't call you too much or trouble you. But the website is not good, it is down occasionally. The points system even on the platinum card is not really that great. They used to have great offers at one point of time, but not anymore. Customer service is very bad,,,sometimes emails are not responded till a reminder is sent.
  4. HDFC - I have the card, used it once, got service charge added for petrol when they said it wont be...That was reversed after email, but i am confused, do i need to call them every-time for something that basic? Not using it now.
  5. Citibank - I found it to be most professional and with best practices. Using it since last 7-8 years with almost no problems. It has a decent points system.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Holi 2010

Holi 2010
Originally uploaded by ankur186
Happy holi to everybody, the day was fun with colors and some bhang.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dubai Visa

There was a confusion regarding Visa for my recent visit to UAE. For visitor visa your visa is processed either by the hotel or the travel agent of Dubai, but as i was going to stay with family there, this was not the option open to me. Next option is to ask the family there to get the visa for me, however for that the deposit asked by government is very high. Finally thought of trying the option of DVPC. On reading more figured that this is open for people flying on emirates airlines only. Finally made the papers and applied for visa. Then after 2-3 days i called up emirates airlines and they sent me an email, which was supposed to be the visa...

When i went to get foreign exchange to the travel agent, her got confused on seeing the printout.. Then i asked him to call up the emirates airlines and check on the visa. He did confirm it, and only after that gave the forex.

Flying was fine, however when i landed at Dubai terminal 3, at the immigration, the officer there was not pleased on seeing the email. He said he needed some individual email for all 3 of us. I said, this is what i have,,,,Seeing the child and the family, he said, i am letting you go, but from next time get individual visa...NEXT TIME....HMMMMMMM

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Water fountain view from the observation deck at 124th floor

Watching the dubai from burj khalifa was wonderful experience. The view was like from a plane just when it is about to land. All the buildings that appear so tall when on ground started looking so small from the 124th floor.

Getting to burj khalifa was a little expensive and tricky. There is always a 2 day waiting list for the 100 AED ticket. If you want immediate entry then the ticket is 400 AED per person.

We went to khalifa on saturday and from Monday it got closed. I don't know if its opened or not, but we just made it in the nick of time.

I have also been to empire state building observatory in New york, but the view from here was much more awesome. But in empire state you go to the open balcony on the 80th floor, but here it was a closed observatory. There is an outside open balcony on 124th floor also, but the same was closed for maintenance. Probably because one suicide has already happened...

Many indians were involved in senior and important positions in making of this building and it was a nice experience to see their names on the way out..

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I am presently reading this another book by malcolm gladwell. The book is not as engaging as the outliers, still it has some interesting stories.

Like how a marriage counceller can just listen to 3 mins of conversation and tell whether the couples wud stay or split.

But it also validates something i also believe in, listen to ur inner voice. Also that first few seconds when you meet someone or start a ne engagement are very important. I always ask my team to carefully record their first experience with a web application. The best and most meaningful bugs generally come in those first few seconds. "The usability blocks", "the bad UI" impacts u most in the first initial seconds, and then as the time goes by u become used to that.

Would love to finish this book quickly and move on to the next one...Am trying to find another good book to buy..

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Outliers Outliers: The Story of Success (9780316017923): Malcolm Gladwell: Books

Picked this book from the bestsellers shelf, the title is somewhat cryptic, but it means that this book is about all those who lie outside/above the rest. This book in no uncertain way proves that hard work is the only thing that is in your hand to achieve success. Luck, family, economy and other factors play a part, but they are beyond your control. It also dispels the myth on high IQ/genius.

It also clearly states that for job satisfaction 3 things are important -
1. Challenges
2. Autonomy
3. Relation between effort and rewards.

A manager can create point 1 and 2, however point 3 is to be looked at an organizations level.